New moms often face a mountain of obstacles when they want to get back into shape. Not only are there issues of sleep deprivation and erratic infant feeding schedules, but they also have to figure out how to care for their little one while squeezing in a few push-ups and bicep curls. In response to this dilemma, Lisa Druxman, a personal trainer in San Diego and the mother of 2 1/2-year-old Jacob, designed a stroller-based workout for moms in her neighborhood as an alternative to the gym daycare center. "Our time is so short to exercise and to be with our kids -- if you can combine the two, it's that much better," says Druxman, whose Stroller Strides classes are now available across the country.
For the workout below, you'll need to bring water, a mat for abdominal work, and a hat and sunblock for you and your baby. Start out slowly so that you don't lose your balance; a jogging stroller is helpful but not necessary. To see whether there's a class near you or to learn more, call Stroller Strides at 866-348-4666 or visit their website at http://www.strollerstrides.com/.
Start strolling: Warm up by walking at a comfortable pace for 5 minutes. Stop and do some easy stretching of the arm and leg muscles. Then run or walk for 5 to 10 minutes. When walking behind a stroller, remember to keep your shoulders down and back and your chest out. Abs should be tight and arms softly bent. Each of the following strength-training stations should be separated by 5 to 10 minutes of walking or jogging with the stroller. Aim to work up to three sets of 15 repetitions of each exercise.
Lunges: Stand behind your stroller with your hands on the handlebar shoulder-width apart. Lunge forward with one leg, pushing the stroller out in front of you. Your knee should be directly above your ankle and your thigh parallel to the ground. Return to the standing position and lunge with the other leg.
Squats: Stand behind your stroller with your hands on the handlebar shoulder-width apart. With your feet and knees forward, squat down as if sitting on a chair, keeping your weight in your heels and your knees directly above your ankles. (Be careful not to put weight on the stroller; you don't want it to tip.) Squeeze your rear end and return to the starting position.
Push-ups: Find a bench and park your baby's stroller safely beside you. Facing the bench, place your arms shoulder-width apart on it. Keeping back and abdominals strong, lower your chest to the bench and then press back to the starting position. Keep your body in a straight line.
Abdominals: Find a grassy area where you can spread out your mat. (Your baby may want to join you on the ground for this one.) With your back pressed firmly against the ground and your legs straightened and raised to form a 90-degree angle, lightly cradle your head in your fingertips and lift your chest a few inches upward toward your knees. Remember not to pull on your neck and to keep your movements small. Finally, cool down with light stretching.